I’ve purposely held off writing about the Supreme Court nominee hearings as it has been such a divisive spectacle and I thought it would be best to wait until the process had wound up. With the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court now confirmed and sworn in by the Chief Justice, I want to say a few words about this process and why this seat has been so contentious.
To understand why this Supreme Court nomination was such a big deal; you have to look at who was being replaced. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was often seen as the swing vote between the liberal and conservative justices on the bench. He most often sided with the liberal justices, which skewed the court more to the left.
Of course, the whole idea of liberal and conservative justices on the Supreme Court is an abomination in the first place. There should be no political skew in either direction. There should be no other consideration at play other than the Constitution and the law. By the time any case reaches the highest court in the land, politics and the justices’ personal views should be long gone and only the law should enter into their decisions. Sadly, this is no longer the case and ‘legal’ decisions that should be 9-0 are now split along political lines.
With that in mind, you can see how any non-liberal appointee to the court would be a threat to the left. The ability of politicians to impose new and constitutionally ‘flexible’ laws would be dramatically curtailed with a Supreme Court that would apply proper Constitutional standards to the case, to say nothing of simply hearing them in the first place, something the Court has not been willing to do.
Stop and think about how many cases just related to the Second Amendment the Court has rejected because it didn’t have enough votes to hear it. This has resulted in conflicts between the Circuits and left standing abhorrent rulings from the runaway Ninth Circuit. With a Supreme Court unwilling to step in, the Circuit Courts have been ignoring legal procedure and precedent and unconstitutional laws have become the defacto law of the land.
Given the politics involved, you can see why the thought of a more conservative justice, or simply one who deeply respects the Constitution and the rule of law would be a threat to a particular agenda. The stage was therefore set for the media spectacle that followed.
Even before the nominee’s name was announced, opposition statements were crafted, speeches were written, signs made up and counter arguments against the nominee’s record created – all with a blank spot left for the name to be filled in. It didn’t matter who the nominee was, it only mattered that the nominee wasn’t someone they approved of. Once the name was announced, dire predictions that his confirmation would kill millions of Americans, implement Sharia law, ban contraception, reduce wages and destroy voting rights were spread.
The meetings and hearings that followed were filled with arguments against the nominee’s record and views. Opposition Senators called for a delay until after the mid-term elections with the hopes they would be able to take back control of the Senate and block the nominee. They staged highly coordinated and choreographed interruptions and protests to delay the confirmation hearings beyond the start of the Supreme Court opening and the end of the Senate calendar.
Then, with all written questions answered, individual meetings with all of the Senators conducted, the public and private hearings concluded and all of the delay tactics failed, and only then – did allegation of sexual assault emerge through leaks to the media of an allegation known long in advance of any of the Senate hearings.
What followed was a media fueled mass hysteria and more ‘spontaneous’ allegations of far fetched, unprovable and eventually discredited misconduct. The nominee had to prove his innocence because his past judicial opinions were enough to strip him of his Constitutional rights and presumption of innocence. If you supported the nominee, you hated all women and supported rape. Yet the objective of this tactic was the same – to add more hurdles to delay the confirmation.
With no substantiations to the allegations found in the supplemental background investigation, the investigation itself became the target as the strategy now shifted to the nominee’s ‘stability’ from his last testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee. Now with the confirmation concluded, the strategy has once again shifted to impeachment proceedings as soon as the Democratic Party wins a majority in the House of Representatives.
If you would like to see an excellent speech on the nominee and what transpired through the Senate hearings, I suggest the floor speech of Maine Senator Susan Collins. I’m normally not a fan of Senator Collins and I more often than not disagree with her politics and tactics, however her speech was probably the most well reasoned and articulated I heard throughout this whole debacle. The speech is 45 minutes long, but it is well worth the time.
While the politically staged national outrage of a new Associate Supreme Court Justice who is still accused of being a “serial rapist” continues to be fed by the political puppet masters and media outlets, where are the Senators who championed these protests? Are they advocating for the voices and rights of victims of sexual assaults? Hell no! They’ve moved their mock protests onto their own reelection or pre-Presidential campaigns. Instead of asking for donations to the organizations that aid survivors of sexual assault, exploitation and domestic violence, they are using these allegations to fill the coffers of their own campaign accounts.
Despite what the media has been feeding to millions of impassioned and impressionable Americans, this whole farce of our political and judicial appointment process was never about women’s rights or believing the victims of sexual assault. It was simply a political strategy to discredit a nominee and delay his confirmation until after the Mid-Term elections.
Sadly, the unintended consequences from this disgusting display of partisan politics will haunt us for years. Sexual assault victims may be less likely to come forward knowing they may be judged in the context of the accusers from the Supreme Court nominee’s hearings. Highly qualified judges and others in the political arena may also be less likely to seek public office knowing the potential of having to prove their innocence against anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations about their distant past.
For all those who have protested against politicians, judges and anyone else who doesn’t support their view of this issue, what have you done to help? Here’s a hint, screaming in someone’s face at the top of your lungs isn’t helping; it just makes you look like a kook.
Instead, how about doing something positive? How about donating your time or money to your local rape crisis center? How about sponsoring self-defense classes for women? How about helping provide positive alternative activities to teen drinking parties? How about helping parents be positive, respectful role models to their families? How about teaching your own children to respect women so rape and violence can be a thing of the past.
Among the most telling arguments was that this nominee would threaten our nation’s modern jurisprudence. In other words, it would inhibit the unchecked ability of judges to legislate from the bench while ignoring legal precedent, judicial procedure and the Constitution. I certainly hope that is true.
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